How to Compare Insulation
It’s About R-value
The basic way to compare different insulation materials is to measure how well they do their job. Designed to stop the transfer of heat, the more heat that a particular insulating material stops, the better it is.
Insulation’s ability to stop heat transfer is measured in R-value. The higher an insulation’s R-value, the better it is at stopping heat transfer.
The R-value Myth
If insulation is not installed properly, or it does not seal an area completely, heat can pass as if there was no insulation.
Moisture also affects some insulation and reduces its effective R-value. Moisture is present in most ceilings and walls.
The R-value rating of an insulation does not account for the reduction in R-value from poor installation, gaps and moisture.
A wide variety of insulation materials are available for homes and buildings. Below is a comparison of some of the most common types of insulation.
The famous “pink” insulation
Solid sheets of polyurethane foam
Loose Cellulose Fill
Made from treated waste-paper
Spray Foam Insulation
Blown-in expanding foam insulation
|R-value (1”)||3.0 – 3.8||3.5 – 3.7||4.0||7.0|
|Completely Seals (no gaps)||No||No||No||Yes|